Paint a picture in their mind’s eye. Here is an experiment for you. Take five or ten people you know, show them the image at the top of this article and have them describe it to Dall-e or another AI program that changes the text to images.
Now, collect those images without discussing them with people and compare them. I can almost guarantee that none of the images will be the same.
But how can that be?
How can they all look at the same master image, enter their text to describe what they see and have the pictures come out differently? It is not the software; they are all using the same, and unless they have set up their prompts, the algorithm for all will be the same.
So why would they be different?
They are different because our minds perceive and interpret what we see differently.
Each of us has a slightly different filter. We each filter based on our education, experiences, sense of self, perceptions of good vs. evil, overall biases and even how light refracts on our retina.
So, even though we may look at the same image, we are not. Each interprets that image uniquely, and those anomalies have led to minor and major disagreements over time.
But not just our sense of sight fools us; hearing, touch, smell and taste are also uniquely coded to us. Each is based upon past experiences and how we have interpreted them.
For example, some of us, myself included, do not like high-pitched sounds. Therefore, when I come across a person whose voice is naturally “squeaky,” I am sure I have biases against them and need to fight to give them the same benefit of the doubt as everyone else.
None of this makes us better or worse than others; it just makes us different. Our senses lead us to formulate opinions that may be right or wrong, but to us, they are correct. The same goes for everyone else. How they perceive the world is not based upon our sense of reality but theirs, and if we wish to create a common language, bond or a sense of purpose, it is our job to paint a picture in their minds that resonates with them and enables them to understand, if not agree, with our point of view.
So, how do we do this?
The first thing we need to understand is their context. We ask open-ended questions that enable us to understand their point of view. We do not judge or dismiss but instead seek to understand.
It is essential to state that understanding does not necessarily mean agreeing. We can see someone else’s point of view without having it threaten our core beliefs. It is merely taking the time and effort to see how they interpret things based on their core beliefs and sense of understanding of a situation or problem.
From there, it is about creating a common language, creating a set of analogies and constructs that everyone can agree upon and agreeing on why these are correct (or not).
- “Water is wet.”
- “The earth goes around the sun.”
- “Quitting time is 5 pm.”
Once that is established, it is about working on the problem and not focusing on who is right or wrong. Establishing the problem as the “enemy” and not each other.
“How do we establish a four-day workweek that works for everyone?”
When we can create a common language and goals, we can paint common ideas, concepts, purpose and goals into everyone’s minds.
All this takes time, patience, and the belief that there is no “one right answer” but rather “a right answer that works for everyone concerned.”
It takes effective communication, active listening and the ability of everyone to be creative, adaptive and resilient.
What would happen within your organization if you could paint pictures that enable goals to be reached more effectively?
Where would you be then that you cannot be today?
Investing the time and effort to find out will ultimately be worth it.
Footnote from the Editor
Ben is one of a select few, who have been chosen to become a Featured Columnist for The Maverick Paradox Magazine. You can read all his articles by clicking below.